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The Long and Short about IKEA’s Quality & Their Instruction Manuals

Tuition given in the topic of Miss Loi's Temple aka Joss Sticks Tuition Centre from the desk of Miss Loi at 12:57 pm (Singapore time)

As some of you might know, Miss Loi is currently busy with refurbishing The Temple for the new season.

Putting Everyone In Their Places

With their “wide range of well designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that everyone can afford them“, Miss Loi has always been a compulsive raider of their outlets whenever something needs a facelift.

But with great prices, there has to be some compromises. To their credit, IKEA’s products have generally lasted pretty well in the past.

That’s why IKEA says,

Why do we abuse our own goods?

At IKEA we always put our furniture through rigorous testing, to make sure it can stand up to just about anything.

That’s why.

But these days, this ‘abuse’ may have gone a little too far.

Take this Allak chair for instance. When Miss Loi bought it more than a month ago (forgotten exact date), she was sure it didn’t come with this cool dragon design on its leather seat:

Torn Allak

Upon closer inspection, she fully expects this ‘dragon’ to grow in size in the coming months.

Torn Allak (Closeup)

Maybe it just had to do with the way Miss Loi sits, or maybe it couldn’t withstand the abuse from her butt. In any case, according to IKEA’s 100-day return policy, she’d need to “bring it back unassembled with the original packaging and your receipt … “.

Since she just remembered throwing that receipt and packaging away So in a great act of benevolence, she decided to let it pass.

But last weekend’s raid revealed more signs of the ‘abuse’ their poor products went through:

Cracked Vika

This was carefully pressed back for the photo.
A careless brush will easily tear the whole panel out!
Chipped Kludd

Chipped glass

But then again, they’re not obvious enough for a lethargic Miss Loi to bring them back unassembled with the original packaging, so she’ll probably start a “Spot The Defects” contest for her new students at her refurbished Temple to spice up the lesson when they’re falling asleep.

Now let’s move on to their instruction manuals.

As we all know, part of their low prices comes from the savings in labour costs.

That’s why IKEA says,

Why do I have to assemble the furniture myself?

Even though it’s tricky sometimes, it means not paying someone in a factory to do it for you.

That’s why.

IKEA’s manuals have always been glowing epitomes of the old adage “A picture paints a thousand words“, relying almost entirely on diagrams alone to get the messages across. Miss Loi has long suspected that this may have also contributed to their low prices, in some way.

IKEA Hieroglyphs

IKEA hieroglyphs circa 2007
More IKEA Hieroglyphs

More IKEA hieroglyphs

In fact, the only ‘words’ you’ll ever see in an IKEA manual are the page numbering and the word IKEA itself.

They must’ve researched this pretty thoroughly, and probably through some inter-quartile range deemed their iconic instructions clear enough to be understood by most humans, and that nobody will be left behind.

But in all research data, there’re always exceptions. And when an anomaly in the form of Miss Loi comes along and attempts to build something by following exactly what the manual says, this is what she gets:

I'm Hopeless

Hopeless isn’t she?

After flipping through those sacred pages again, dead sure that she had followed the law to the letter, she finally nailed the step that killed her:

The Step That Killed Miss Loi

Oh if only IKEA had just added four more words like this to jolt her non-thinking mind:

IKEA's Missing Text

Disaster would have been averted and there would be one less tarnish to The Temple’s grandeur for Miss Loi to brood over forever after. *sob sob*

But then again IKEA just don’t do text. THAT’S WHY!


Revision Exercise

To show that you have understood what Miss Loi just taught you from the centre, you must:

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Comments & Reactions


  1. xinyun's Avatar
    xinyun commented in tuition class


    miss loi... get free labour to set up for u, eg. FoxTwo :X

  2. Peter's Avatar
    Peter commented in tuition class


    Too bad the fox doesn't frequent this place.... *innocent whistling*

  3. WishBoNe's Avatar
    WishBoNe commented in tuition class


    That's why I don't like Ikea stuff. They spoil easily. I know of someone who can customise for you. 😀

  4. ByPassing's Avatar
    ByPassing commented in tuition class


    haha~...stop blaming on the instruction manual, you got 2 correctly placed righted?! Hmmm, the above 3 commenter are right, get your otherside of the equation to assemble for you la~

  5. Miss Loi's Avatar
    Miss Loi Friend Miss Loi on Facebook @MissLoi commented in tuition class


    To all, it's too late. Anyway that cupboard is going to be covered by a door and kept from critical eyes. So only Miss Loi will be reminded of this disaster whenever she opens it! 🙁

  6. zeezee's Avatar
    zeezee commented in tuition class


    Hahaa.. cant stop laughing when i stumbled upon that dragon.
    I used to like IKEA alot when i m younger coz they seem to hv the chioest furniture that is affordable. Nowadays, i only like the food served in their restaurant.

  7. Miss Loi's Avatar
    Miss Loi Friend Miss Loi on Facebook @MissLoi commented in tuition class


    OMG ZZ you're back in Sambaland!

    Let's hope Miss Loi won't find any 'dragon' in her soup the next time she visits their restaurant. Eweee!

  8. Mindy's Avatar
    Mindy commented in tuition class


    Well, you are trying to assemble a Billy bookcase right? If IKEA is going to add words into their instruction manuals, then they must do so for all the other non-english speaking countries, which would in turn increase their cost and these cost would then be passed onto you, would you like that? Also, I think you should also use a little of your brain when assembling. Of cos the smooth side is suppose to be facing you and rough is facing the back. From what I see from you pic, I think you have already nailed the smooth side of the board. If you really care, you can always purchase a new board and re-do it, but this will take a lot of time and effort. Moreover, I see that your Billy bookcase is in white, which will turn off-white after a few years. Maybe by then, you can discard and purchase another new bookcase since IKEA furnitures are semi-disposable and don't expect them to last for generations.

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